Daily Digest: March 13 2014

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“If the dream to establish our own university is to come true, it has to begin with us.” – Bishop John K. Yambasu of the Sierra Leone Annual Conference. advertisement

Sierra Leone launches United Methodist University
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (UMNS) — The Sierra Leone Annual Conference publicly introduced its plans for a new United Methodist University as Bishop John K. Yambasu urged everyone to take an ownership in the future of nation’s children. The $4.5 million undertaking is aimed at improving higher education in Sierra Leone as well as training future medical practitioners and church leaders.

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Long recovery from Japan’s triple disaster
NEW YORK (UMNS) — This week marks the third anniversary of the triple disaster — earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown — that struck Japan in 2011. To address the remaining psychological needs of survivors, the United Methodist Committee on Relief has approved $6 million in grants to partner organizations, David Tereshchuk reports.

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Update to Ogletree resolution agreement
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (UMNS) — The resolution in the case of the Rev. Thomas Ogletree was not “a blanket dismissal-in-advance of every complaint filed against those performing same-gender weddings,” said the United Methodist New York Annual (regional) Conference in a March 12 clarification.

See NYAC clarification

Church defeats ‘thundersleet’ to help motorists
ENNIS, Texas (UMNS) — When a storm and rapidly falling temperatures created a wintry mix meteorologists labeled ‘thundersleet,’ the congregation of Ennis First United Methodist Church decided it was time to dole out some good old-fashioned radical hospitality. Vance Morton of the Central Texas Annual (regional) Conference and the Ennis Daily News reports.

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Grants for central conferences top $1 million
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Fifty-seven grants totaling more than $1 million were awarded for theological education in 11 countries in Africa, Asia and Europe. The money will be used for curriculum development, training of local pastors, continuing education for clergy, faculty development, e-readers and even $50,000 for the solar electrification of the Banyam Theological Seminary in Jalingo, Nigeria. Vicki Brown of the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry has the story.

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United Methodist Church Foundation is 15
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The United Methodist Church Foundation at a meeting earlier this month celebrated its 15th year of operations and growth for ministry organizations of all sizes and types within The United Methodist Church. The foundation manages more than $108 million in long-term investments and endowment funds of United Methodist general agencies, organizations and foundations.

Read news release

Survey finds growth in multisite churches
DALLAS (UMNS) — The vast majority of multisite churches are growing, reports a new study by Leadership Networks and Generis, and those multisite churches are seeing more involvement from lay people and newcomers after they open an additional location. Adelle Banks of the Religion News Service reports on a concept a number of United Methodists are embracing

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Leaders of large churches to meet in Georgia
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. (UMNS) — Pastors, staff and congregational leaders from some of the largest United Methodist churches will gather in April to exchange thoughts, learn new leadership skills and develop new ideas. The 2014 Large Church Initiative conference, “Continuum: Engaging All Generations,” will be April 28-30. Discounted registration is available until March 15.

To learn more and register

Religion and Race awarding ministry grants
WASHINGTON (UMNS) —The United Methodist Church's Commission on Religion and Race is seeking to fund “innovative, bold, high-impact initiatives” that will increase intercultural competency or support vital conversations about race, cultural diversity and systemic equity.

To learn more

An open letter to Sports Illustrated
BIRMINGHAM, Mich. (UMNS) — The Rev. Laurie Haller shares her concerns about the magazine's annual swimsuit issue, which is now in its 50th year. She criticizes the magazine and American culture at large for tying women's empowerment to their level of physical beauty. Haller is a United Methodist pastor, mother of two daughters, and a subscriber to Sports Illustrated for 33 years.

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